Monthly Archives: June 2013

20130624 Mystics affirm human dignity 精修者確認人性尊嚴

Archbishop Fulton Sheen pointed out that it seems that there is a crisis about every five hundred years in the history of Christendom. The first cycle of five hundred years was the fall of Rome, and God raised up Pope Gregory the Great to set about conversion of the barbarians and prepared the way for a Christian Europe.

At the end of the second cycle, around the year 1000, there was the Eastern schism and the decline of the holiness in the Church. Gregory VII reformed the Church and prepared the way for the great medieval civilization.

In the third cycle of the five hundred years, there was the Protestant revolt. Pope Pius V applied the reforms of the Council of Trent and established missionary activities throughout the world.

Before his death in 1979, Sheen wrote, “Now we are in the fourth cycle of five hundred years, with two world wars in twenty-one years, and the universal dread of nuclear incineration. This time God has given us John Paul II, who has drawn the attention of the world to himself as no human being has done in history.”

Vatican Council II

            Before becoming Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as a bishop. The Council was convoked by Pope John XXIII as a means to make the Church more effective in her ministry to the modern world.

            Vatican II encouraged greater participation of the laity in the life of the Church and stirred the consciences of all Christians to work for unity and peace.

             The Council also opened the Scriptures more fully for the faithful in the liturgy and brought the liturgies closer to the people.

John Paul II

            Archbishop Fulton Sheen pointed out that false mysticism ends in politics. He wrote, “Our times have seen the rise of the Red mysticism of class and party in communism, the Black mysticism of the state under fascism, and the Brown mysticism of the race under Nazism. In other parts of the world, a false mystique uncoiled like a serpent suffocated freedom of speech and suppressed opposition and assassinated those who differed.”

            Pope John Paul II was a true mystic who affirmed the dignity of the human person. He brought out clearly the message of the universal call to holiness. He proposed numerous saints and blessed as examples of authentic Christian living.

            As a pastoral pope, John Paul II loved the people intensely and reached out to all people as their father and pastor.

Mother Teresa

            Another saintly figure of the 20th century is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Like John Paul II, she was a mystic who affirmed the dignity of the human person. Desiring to satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the cross for love and for souls, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.

            The constitution of the Missionaries of Charity states: “The spirit of our society is one of loving trust, total surrender and cheerfulness as lived by Jesus and His mother.”

            Both John Paul II and Mother Teresa were intensely devoted to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Their words and examples help us to translate the teachings of Vatican II into actions, and equip the Church to face the great challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges include: the question of Islam, the new evangelization in formerly Christian regions, the continuing crisis of dissent with widespread ignorance of the Catholic teachings among the faithful, and the culture of death against the traditional values of family, marriage and life.  

            This article concludes the series of twenty-six articles on Church History. These articles can be viewed on my personal site: 






























20130617 Martyrs remembered 紀念殉道烈士

On July 13, 1917 the three children of Fatima saw a vision regarding the persecutions during the 20th century.

            The children saw a bishop dressed in white and they had the impression that it was the Holy Father. “Other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”

Countless martyrs

            During the 20th century there were persecutions in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East and Europe.

            Between 1931 and 1939 Spain experienced the greatest Christian mass slaughter since the times of the Roman Empire.

            During World War II, the Nazi regime fiercely persecuted the Church. After World War II, Communist persecutions had become systematic in Eastern Europe.

            Blessed John Paul II said, “Countless numbers refused to yield to the cult of the false gods of the 20th century and were sacrificed by Communism, Nazism, by the idolatry of State or race”.

            On May 13, 1981 John Paul II (the bishop dressed in white) was shot at St. Peter’s Square. After the assassination attempt, it was clear to John Paul II that “it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death”.

Inspiring witnesses

            John Paul II said, “The Church has once again become a Church of martyrs…This witness must not be forgotten.”

            The Holy Father repeatedly urged the faithful to keep alive the memory of the martyrs of the 20th century. He said, “The new generations must know the cost of the faith they have inherited, if they are to receive the torch of the Gospel with gratitude and shed its light on the new century and the new millennium.”

            The Church keeps alive the memory of martyrs especially through canonizations and beatifications.

            Two of the most famous martyrs canonized by John Paul II are St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941) and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross or Edith Stein (1891-1942).

            St. Maximilian was a great devotee of Our Lady. He founded the Militia of Mary Immaculate, started a Marian magazine, and established an international center of Marian devotion.

During World War II, St. Maximilian was arrested by the Nazi. At the concentration camp, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. He died a martyr of charity on August 14, 1941.

            Edith Stein was a philosopher who converted to the Catholic Faith after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. She became a Carmelite nun and lived a life of prayer, fasting, and penance. In 1942 she was arrested by the Nazi and was killed in the gas chamber on August 9. 





















教宗若望保祿二世宣聖的人中,兩位廣受世人注目的是聖高比神父(1894-1941),及聖德蘭.本篤十字架(又稱聖依蒂.詩婷)(1891-1941) 。




20130610 Our Lady calls for prayer 聖母呼籲多祈禱

Our Lady appeared at different places in the 20th century, asking for prayer for the conversion of sinners, and promising to intercede for suffering humanity.

Lady of the Rosary

            In 1917, Our Lady appeared six times to three children at Fatima, Portugal. The three children were: Lucia Santos, Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto.

One of the key messages of Fatima is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as an effective means for the salvation of souls and peace of the world.

Our Lady urged the children to pray and to make sacrifices in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners. She said, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.”

The call for conversion is another key message. Our Lady said, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.”

On October 13, 1917, Our Lady said, “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.”

The Immaculate Virgin

            From November 29, 1932 to January 3, 1933, Our Lady appeared thirty-three times to five children at Beauraing, Belgium.

Our Lady said, “Pray, pray very much.”She also requested that a chapel be built and that people would come in pilgrimage. Our Lady indicated herself as “the Immaculate Virgin”.

In the final apparitions, the children saw Our Lady with a heart of gold surrounded by rays. In the last apparition on January 3, 1933, Our Lady spoke to each of the five children individually. Here are some the messages she gave: “I will convert sinners.” “I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always.” “Do you love my Son? Do you love me? Then sacrifice yourself for me.”

Virgin of the Poor

            Twelve days after the last apparition at Beauraing, Our Lady appeared at Banneux, Belgium. Banneux is fifty miles from Beauraing. Our Lady appeared to an eleven years old girl, Mariette Beco, eight times from January 15 to March 2, 1933.

On January 19, Our Lady identified herself as “the Virgin of the Poor”. Our Lady and Mariette went to the spring together. Our Lady said, “This spring is reserved for all the nations —- to relieve the sick.”

On January 20, Our Lady said, “I would like a small chapel”, and on February 11, she said, “I come to relieve suffering.”

In the last three apparitions, Our Lady told Mariette to pray much. Her final message was: “I am the Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, Pray much. Farewell.”

Mother of the Word

Between 1981 and 1989 Our Lady appeared to three young women (Alphonsine, Nathalie & Marie Claire) who were attending a Catholic school in Kibeho, Rwanda. Though there were other people who claimed to experience apparitions, the Church only approved the Marian apparitions that were received by the three young women at the Catholic school.

Our Lady told Alphonsine that she is the Mother of the Word. She said, “I have heard your prayers. I would like it if your companions had more faith because some of them do not believe enough.”

Nathalie is especially known for the message of redemptive suffering and unceasing prayer for a world that is very bad and at risk of falling into an abyss.

A key message given to Marie Claire was: “Repent, repent, repent!”

In 1982 the girls foresaw the genocide that would take place in 1994.



































20130603 Our Lady rebuilt faith 聖母修建教會

In the nineteenth century, while the Church was being rebuilt in France, a number of Marian apparitions there helped to shape the spiritual life of the faithful.

Miraculous medal

St. Catherine Laboure was a religious at Paris. On the night of July 18, 1830 a “shining child” woke her up, and led her to the chapel. Our Lady appeared and talked with her for two hours. St. Catherine was told about her future mission and the difficult times to come.

On November 27, Our Lady appeared again in the same chapel, standing on a globe with shafts of light streaming from her hands towards it, surrounded by the words: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!” Then the vision turned about, and St. Catherine saw a capital “M” with a cross above it and two hearts beneath it. One heart was thorn-crowned and the other pierced with a sword.

St. Catherine heard a voice telling her to have a medal struck according to the visions and promising great graces to those who would wear it with devotion. The medal was called “Miraculous medal”. Numerous graces, including healing and conversion, have been obtained through the wearing of the medal.

Green Scapular

            On September 8, 1840, Our Lady appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburo, a religious who belonged to the same convent of St. Catherine Labourse. Mary appeared holding in her right hand her Immaculate Heart and holding in her left hand a scapular.

The scapular consisted of a simple piece of green cloth, rectangular in shape, hanging from a green string. On one side was an image of Our Lady holding her heart in her hands, on the other side was the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the inscription: “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.”

An interior voice revealed to Sister Justine that Mary wanted copies of the scapular made as soon as possible and distributed with great confidence.

On September 8, 1846, Our Lady appeared again, and let Sister Justine knew that the green scapular is not like others (it is not the clothing-habit of a confraternity) but merely two holy pictures on a single piece of material. It is to be blessed by a priest and worn by the one whom we desire to benefit by Our Lady’s intercession. If a person is unable or even unwilling to wear or carry it, it may even be slipped, unknown to the person, into his clothes, bed, room, or possessions.

A prayer should be said at least once a day: “Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” If the person who is the intended beneficiary of the scapular’s use does not say it, then someone else can say it in his place. The graces obtained through the green scapular are more or less great in proportion to the degree of confidence of the person praying.

Numerous miracles of healing and conversion have occurred by means of the Green Scapular.

Immaculate Conception

            In 1854, Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Four years later in 1858, Our Lady appeared eighteen times to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the recess of the Massabielle cliff near Lourdes from February 11 to July 16.

Our Lady instructed Bernadette to drink and wash at the spring of the cave. She also requested prayers for sinners, penance, processions, and a chapel built.

On March 25, 1858 Our Lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. Miraculous cures occurred in Lourdes, but the blessings there are mainly spiritual. Our Lady said to Bernadette, “I do not promise to make you happy in this life but in the next.”